Virtual Park Up: Ron’s Van Werkhoven

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This VC ‘bike of the week’ is unique in every sense of the word. From the colour scheme to the build kit, Ron Nott’s (aka Fairflyer) Van Werkhoven is certainly one of a kind!

Ron explains why he chose a steel frame and what it was about Van Werkhoven that caught his eye…

“OK, why an old steel frame? I can’t narrow it down to any particular explanation save for the fact that I find the geometry aesthetically pleasing. Questioning the advancement of bicycle technology is not the way to go when choosing steel, as carbon outperforms every time, and I’ve accepted that. Performance and results is not the reason why I started riding, nor has it been the crux to choosing the right bicycle for me.

The moment I saw the bubbly mid-80s font from a few years ago, I’ve wanted to have one ever since. I spent a couple of years trawling online until this popped up. The builder, Andrew Van Werkhoven, was active in Brisbane sometime around the mid 1980s to the early 1990s. He built approximately 200 high-end frames, of which he would apply a sticker that stated “Engineered by Van Werkhoven, built in Australia” on the rear stays. He did this as he also refurbished a number of frames from other builders, but would omit the sticker from the latter. He was also well known for garish paint fades, although my frame is in white, and doesn’t showcase this particular skill. In the early 90s, sometime around the advent of carbon and cheaper options coming from Asia, Van Werkhoven along with many of his contemporaries were forced to close. Luckily for Van Werkhoven, he had a non-cycling portion of his business that he was able to transition into. As far as I know, this is what he is still doing these days.

In terms of contact with cycling, he is no longer involved in the industry, nor is he wanting to be contacted by anyone from the aforementioned industry/community (according to comments from a family member on an online forum). It’s sad, as he’s left a lasting impression on me, and I would love to see him make some more, or even pass his knowledge to up-and-coming bespoke builders. I’d be keen for him to specifically build one for me, but this one fits me just fine!”

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